Bad Vegan, a new Netflix real crime series, examines the demise of one of New York City’s most renowned cafes. Sarma Melngailis, owner of the vegan restaurant Pure Food and Wine and the related raw-vegan-products brand One Lucky Duck, met and married Anthony Strangis, a scammer who Melngailis alleges coerced her into stealing money from her own business. And then went on the run from authorities, according to the docuseries. The two were eventually accused of moving over $1.6 million from the restaurant to their own accounts.
The famous cafe is at the heart of the four-part documentary. Employees even call it a special place, obviously before the husband arrives. So here is everything we know about the vegan restaurant.
Pure Food and Wine- where is it?
Pure Food And Wine, a raw vegan restaurant, was launched in 2004 by Melngailis and her partner at the time, Chef Matthew Kenney, with finance from Jeffrey Chodorow.
Melngailis bought out Kenney’s part in the restaurant in 2005 and took over the reins. She was Amassing a dedicated following that included celebrities like Anne Hathaway, Owen Wilson. And regular Bad Vegan namedrop Alec Baldwin, who met his wife Hilaria there in 2011. The cafe is located at 54 Irving Pl, New York, NY.
How were the loyal employees angered?
One of the most incredible things about the cafe was the strong loyalty of the employees to the restaurant. As we see in the docu-series, they even used to call her Sar-mama. However, all of this changed when Strangis came into the picture.
According to the New York Post, Melngailis and Strangis began skipping paychecks in 2014, with employees missing checks five times that year. Pure Food and Wine was forced to close for a while in the winter of 2015.
When waiters, bartenders, and kitchen employees protested low wages. The restaurant reopened for a brief period with a new group of investors before closing permanently in the spring of 2016.
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